Best Cat Food For Smelly Poop


best cat food for smelly poop

We love our cats!

But sometimes things can get a little…stinky. Especially if you’ve got a multicat household.

And if your cat is anything like mine, they’re very good at timing their litter box breaks RIGHT when you have a guest over.

“Yes, I do have cats. How did you know?”

That’s why I did some research to figure out what foods are best for smelly cat poops and why. It wasn’t a short process but I’ve put together 6 of the best food to help with smelly litter box breaks- 3 wet foods and 3 dry foods.

But keep in mind, there is no poop that smells great.

Well, because it’s poop.

So while no cat food will make your litter box smell like roses…we can at least make some MAJOR improvements!

Snapshot Summary

I’m going to go in-depth on what causes foul-smelling cat stools, how to manage it with food, and why I’ve selected the 10 foods on this list.

But if you’re in a hurry and just want to know what to get, here’s my best overall choice for wet and dry food.

Best Overall Dry Food

Merrick Backcountry Grain Free Raw Infused Dry Dry Cat Food

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Pros:

  • Solid ingredient list and an impressive 41% protein content to help with digestion
  • Features freeze-dried raw portions while staying affordable
  • A focus on fish protein may help some sensitive cats
  • Best overall balance of quality and price

Cons:

  • Raw fish bits give it a strong smell that some cat owners may not want

Best Overall Wet Food:

Merrick backcountry real turkey wet food

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Pros:

  • All 6 of the first ingredients are animal-based
  • Several flavors to choose from
  • Great balance of cost and quality

Cons:

  • Opened pouches can be harder to keep fresh if your cat doesn’t eat it all in one serving

What Causes Smelly Cat Poops?

Smelly cat poops are a surprisingly complex issue. While diet is the number one culprit, it’s important to rule out medical issues (especially if your cat suddenly started having foul-smelling feces).

Veterinary Concerns

One of the first things to look for is the type of stool your cat is having. Using a fecal scoring chart can help everyone get on the same page with what they’re seeing. But before I share the link, keep in mind this is a chart of cat poop. It’s gross and you don’t have to click it.

You’ve been warned. You can click here for the feline fecal scoring chart.

If you’re seeing soft stools (number 3 or below) there may be a medical issue at play. Diarrhea smells worse than solid stool and if your cat is having soft stool it’s important to rule out medical concerns before changing foods. Here are some of the most common medical issues your veterinarian may look for that could be causing extra smelling stools:

Parasites

Intestinal parasites can wreak havoc on your cat’s digestive system and eventually overall health. Along the way, there’s going to be some very foul-smelling feces. Depending on your location, giardia and coccidia are the most common and some strains even zoonotic…which means YOU could contract them. Suddenly scooping the litter box seems a lot more dangerous. Parasites rarely become life-threatening and a quick fecal analysis by your veterinarian can help rule this out.

Allergies

Your cat could have some sensitivities to certain ingredients that are common in many cat foods. While we’re not here to diagnose allergies (which is a complex process) your veterinarian can.

Digestive Disorders

Digestive disorders such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease can lead to poor absorption, indigestion, and eventually very smelly diarrhea.

Anal Gland Infections

Your cat has anal glands (which is as gross as it sounds). These are used to mark their territory and while these glands are normally expressed and cleared out when your cat defecates, they can get impacted and start to really stink up the litter box. Your veterinarian can quality check if this is the problem and express them manually.

Diet Concerns

Assuming there no medical issues at play, extra smelly cat poops usually have to do with the quality of your cat’s food. Modern cat food typically doesn’t match up with what your ancient cat would eat.

And that’s the problem.

Your cat’s digestive system doesn’t know what to do with a bunch of corn or grain. Not only does your cat’s stomach have to work extra hard to digest all that it also leaves a lot of waste behind. That waste comes out as extra stinky stool.

You’ll notice that all of the foods I’ve selected are grain, corn, soy, and wheat-free. I’ve also included a few options that would fall into the novel protein category. Novel or alternative proteins like pheasant, duck or rabbit can sometimes settle your cat’s stomach and stop the stink.

So how do you know what cat food is good and which ones…stink?

One of the first places to start is with the guaranteed analysis section of the pet food label. You may have this when researching pet food in the past. This section lists the amount of protein, fat, and fiber in terms of percentages. These are going to be important numbers to consider in our search for quality cat food that will help with stool stink.

Protein

Protein is typically the first macronutrient listed and as obligate carnivores, protein is extremely important for your cat. However, protein is also one of the most common causes of indigestion, upset stomachs, and smelly stools in cats. So one of the first things to look for is a single or limited number of protein sources for your cat. In terms of percentage, higher is usually better when it comes to managing smell. While protein digestibility in cats is a complex subject, a higher percentage of protein typically means increased digestibility for your carnivorous cat.

There sometimes concern over proteins from animal sources and plant sources. While we’d never want to provide protein from plants alone, a March 2020 study found that plant protein was actually more highly digested than animal protein. That’s not to say that cats don’t need animal protein (because they DO), only to point out that we may not need to worry too much about ingredients like pea protein, and instead we can focus on the total protein analysis.

We’re going to be looking for cat foods with at least 30% protein based on the guaranteed analysis.

Fat

Fat is the second macronutrient listed and an important source of energy for your cat. Fat is typically easy to digest for you cat and we’ll be looking at a range of percentages here.

Fiber

Fiber is usually the third macronutrient listed and it’s an important one for preventing smelly cat poops. But fiber has a long list of benefits beyond just digestion.

For one thing, it can help with hairballs. Your cat likes to stay clean and our indoor friends have a lot of time on their hands. All that grooming means more hair in your cat’s tummy. Fiber can help with digestion and increases the chance that hairballs get broken up and passed as a stool. Instead of coming out as a gross hairball.

Fiber can also help with weight management. Just like in humans, fiber can help your cat feel more full. That means they’ll eat less cat food and overtime this can help your cat get back to a healthier weight. In fact, many high fiber diets (which will help with smelly cat poops) are marketed as weight loss recipes.

The foods I’ve selected aren’t targeting a specific percentage but most are on the higher end in terms of fiber content.

Ingredient Quality

We also want to pay close attention to ingredient quality. Higher quality ingredients typically mean easier digestion and thus less stink. For that reason, every cat food on this list avoids the use of low-quality by-products.

Best Dry Cat Food For Smelly Poops

Without further ado, here are my top five dry foods for managing stinky cat stools.

Best Overall: Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Pacific Catch Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Merrick Backcountry Grain Free Raw Infused Dry Dry Cat Food

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My number one selection is a high-protein option from Merrick. I specifically like the pacific catch formula as it features a slightly lower diversity of protein sources as compared to the gamebird variety. This is what I’d call a “hybrid cat food” as it features freeze-dried raw fish pieces in an attempt to bring in the element of raw food to dry kibble. I really like this combination and it brings the protein content up to a very impressive 41%

It addresses the smelly poop problem not with fiber but instead by giving your cat as much highly-digestible protein as possible. You can check the latest price on Amazon by clicking here. 

Pros:

  • Solid ingredient list and an impressive 41% protein content to help with digestion
  • Features freeze-dried raw portions while staying affordable
  • A focus on fish protein may help some sensitive cats
  • Best overall balance of quality and price

Cons:

  • Raw fish bits give it a strong smell that some cat owners may not want

Like all the foods on this list, Merrick’s Backcountry Raw Infused diet is completely free of corn, wheat, and soy. But let’s take a closer look at the first five ingredients.

1. Deboned Salmon

We always want to see a high-quality animal protein as the first ingredient in any cat food. No exceptions here and it’s good to see that Merrick’s Backcountry food featured deboned salmon as the first and most prominent ingredient.

2. Salmon Meal

Salmon meal is simply salmon but with most of the fat and moisture removed after rendering. It’s good to see the same protein used again and salmon is a great source protein.

3. Whitefish Meal

Similar to above but with whitefish instead of salmon. While it is a different protein source it’s good that it’s another fish-based protein instead of switching to a mammal.

4. Potatoes

This is the first carbohydrate on the list and it’s not until ingredient number four- which is good. It’s important to note that grain-free doesn’t mean carbohydrate-free and potatoes in cat food is more and more common as the grain-free trend continues to grow.

5. Peas

Peas are another popular ingredient as the industry moves away from grain. Peas do help with fiber and some protein so it’s still an acceptable ingredient.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here’s the full list of ingredients in Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Pacific Catch Recipe:

Deboned Salmon, Salmon Meal (Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids), Whitefish Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Natural Flavor, Potato Protein, Sweet Potatoes, Pork Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Whitefish, Trout, Dried Yeast Culture, Salt, Organic Dried Alfalfa Meal, Choline Chloride, Minerals (Iron Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Proteinate, Cobalt Carbonate), Phosphoric Acid, Taurine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Acetate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride), Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis you should expect:

  • 41% Protein
  • 14% Fat
  • 4% Fiber

Merrick Backcountry Summary

With three animal-based protein sources as the first three ingredients, I really like this cat food. Because of the high 41% protein contents and primarily fish-based protein it has a very good chance of reducing the smell of your cat’s poops. It’s my best overall selection as I think it does the best job of balancing price with quality.

 

Runner Up: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Hairball & Weight Control

blue buffalo indoor hairball for smelling stool

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My runner up picks (and very close second) is a hairball and weight control formula from Blue Buffalo. Remember, high-fiber diets help with hairball and weight management so it’s no surprise to see one of these formulas on our list of cat food to manage smelly poops. This recipe has a high fiber content at 7.2% while still maintaining a very high protein percentage at 36%.

That means this Blue Buffalo food addresses the smelly protein with both high fiber content and high protein. You can get the latest price on Amazon by clicking here. 

Pros:

  • High fiber content at 7.2% to help with digestion
  • High protein count at 36% which can help with digestion

Cons:

  • Mixed protein sources may not be best for some cats

As usual, you won’t see any grain on the list of ingredients but to get a better idea of what’s inside this food let’s take a closer look at the first five ingredients.

1. Deboned Chicken

Using AAFCO definitions, we know that this is ” the clean combination of flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, derived from the parts or whole carcasses of poultry or a combination thereof, exclusive of feathers, heads, feet, and entrails.” Overall, it’s a quality ingredient and a good first ingredient.

2. Chicken Meal

Chicken meal is the same cuts are above but with the fat and water removed in the rendering process. It’s still a great source of protein.

3. Tapioca Starch

This is our first carbohydrate and while it is grain-free, I’d prefer to see another protein source (like we did in my best overall selection).

4. Pea Protein

Now we see another protein source but this time from a plant. While it doesn’t have the same amino acid profile as animal-based proteins it’s still an easy to digest protein which is great for preventing smelly poops.

5. Peas

Peas are a popular ingredient from companies that are working to avoid grain. Peas are an acceptable ingredient and even better that it’s not higher on the list.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here’s the full list of ingredients in Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Hairball & Weight Control:

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Tapioca Starch, Pea Protein, Peas, Menhaden Fish Meal (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Powdered Cellulose, Pea Fiber, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Flaxseed (source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Natural Flavor, Potato Starch, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Psyllium Seed Husks, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Sulfate, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Potatoes, Dried Chicory Root, Taurine, Calcium Carbonate, Caramel Color, Potassium Sulfate, Salt, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, L-Carnitine, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Cranberries, Blueberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Kelp, Turmeric, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Oil of Rosemary, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), L-Lysine, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin A Supplement, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis you should expect:

  • 36% Protein
  • 12% Fat
  • 7.2% Fiber

Blue Buffalo Wildnerness Summary

A great alternative to our number one selection, this formula from Blue Buffalo features relatively high protein but exceptionally high fiber that might help some cats manage smelly stools. The only word of caution is that the mixed protein sources (fish, chicken, peas) may upset some cats with allergies.

Premium Pick: Stella & Chewy’s Chick Chick Chicken Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

stella and chewy freeze-dried dinner morsels

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If you’re looking for the best money can buy then you should check out my premium pick from Stella & Chewy. While our best overall selection features freeze-dried fish mixed into the kibble, Stella & Chewy take it to the next level with a completely freeze-dried feed intended to mimic a raw diet. While you can serve this food as it is, it really shines when you rehydrate food (which only takes a minute).

With a focus on creating a “raw” diet with it should no surprise that this dry food has the most protein of any other on our list at a guaranteed analysis of 45%. There’s also a high fat count at 25% which some cats may find easier to digest which means less stinky poops. Finally, this food addresses the stinky stool problem by including several probiotics that can help your cat’s digestion.

I love that this food really walks the line between wet and dry food. You get the convenience of kibble but the benefits of wet food when you rehydrate. If you’re interested in picking up a bag, you can check out today’s price on Amazon.

Pros:

  • Highest protein on our dry food list at 45%
  • Highest fat content on our dry food list at 25%

Cons:

  • Rehydration is an extra step even though it should take around a minute.
  • Ground bones may add too much phosphorous and should be avoided if your cat has kidney disease

Let’s dig a little deeper into Stells & Chewy by taking a look at the first five ingredients.

1. Chicken (Ground With Bone)

This is a somewhat unusual ingredient but we should expect nothing less from food as unique at Stella & Chewy. Bones can a beneficial source of nutrition for many cats but can also increase the levels of phosphorus present. While this may not be a problem for some cats, if your feline is dealing with chronic kidney disease you’ll want to discuss phosphorus intake with your veterinarian. Overall, this is a great ingredient for most cats.

2. Chicken Liver

While technically a poultry by-product (by AAFCO definitions), I’ve always felt that liver is really in a different category as it’s much more nutritious then say chicken feet which are also included in the “poultry by-product” definition. So overall, I like this ingredient.

3. Chicken Gizzard

Gizzards are another part of the chicken that are included in the by-product definition but again there’s a big difference between the head or feet of a chicken and the gizzard. The chicken gizzard is a nutritious part of the chicken and actually commonly eaten. With the goal of decreasing smelly cat poops with better digestion, I like seeing named chicken parts as the first three ingredients.

4. Pumpkin Seed

While pumpkin seeds don’t make their way onto many ingredient lists, they’re an awesome addition here. Pumpkin seeds contain essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and best of all….fiber! That makes them an excellent addition when we’re looking for food to manage smelly cat poops.

5. Potassium Chloride

Potassium Chloride is used to balance the pH of your cat’s food and provide an additional source to potassium to provide a more balanced nutrient profile. 

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

I’ve added the full list of ingredients in Stella & Chewy below but keep in mind the ingredients may look a little different than other dry kibbles since Stella & Chewy have added several stinky poop preventing probiotics. For example, the extremely long-named Dried Pediococcus Acidilactici Fermentation Product is a probiotic with a variety of health benefits.

Chicken (Ground With Bone), Chicken Liver, Chicken Gizzard, Pumpkin Seed, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Fenugreek Seed, Dried Pediococcus Acidilactici Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Longum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Taurine, Tocopherols (Preservative), Dandelion, Dried Kelp, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Riboflavin Supplement, Sodium Selenite, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis for Stella & Chewy:

  • 45% Protein
  • 25% Fat
  • 5% Fiber

Stella & Chewy Summary

Stella & Chewy attempts to mimic the raw food diet while keeping the convenience of dry kibble. This premium pick features high protein, high fat, and a whole host of probiotics to help stop smelly cat poops. Overall, it’s a great option.

Best For Sensitive Stomachs: Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Cat Food

blue buffalo limited ingredient formula

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I’ve already mentioned a few times how multiple protein sources could cause smelly poops as your cat digestive system may be sensitive to one in particular or just sensitive to the variety overall. This limited ingredient diet from Blue Buffalo solves that problem by focusing on only one protein source per recipe. All flavors of this food are also completely free of all chicken products which can also help some cats. Again, we’re not here to diagnose allergies but simplifying your cat’s food can often help with digestion.

You can see all three flavors and check today’s price on Amazon by clicking here. 

Pros:

  • Nice variety of flavors to choose from all of which feature only one protein source
  • No grain, soy, corn.

Cons:

  • Lower end on protein contents

Let’s take a closer at the ingredients in this Blue Buffalo formula.

1. Deboned Whitefish

As mentioned, this diet avoids chicken (which some cats can be sensitive to) and features deboned whitefish as the first ingredient. It’s a great start and a quality ingredient.

2. Menhaden Fish Meal

Just like the other meal-type ingredients this is rendered menhaden fish which leaves behind a concentrated protein source.

3. Tapioca Starch

The first carbohydrate on the list is a common ingredient in modern grain-free cat foods.

4. Peas

While peas contain helpful fiber, more highly digestible protein would be a better option.

5. Pea Protein

Pea protein is an acceptable ingredient and even better to see it no higher than number 5.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here are the full ingredients for this limited ingredient diet:

Deboned Whitefish, Menhaden Fish Meal, Pea Protein, Potatoes, Peas, Pea Starch, Tapioca Starch, Canola Oil, Pea Fiber, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed (source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Calcium Sulfate, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Potassium Chloride, Fish Oil (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Taurine, Calcium Chloride, Pumpkin, Dried Chicory Root, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Vitamin E Supplement, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Vegetable Juice for color, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Copper Amino Acid Chelate, L-Lysine, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin A Supplement, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite, Oil of Rosemary.

Here is the guaranteed analysis for protein, fiber, and fat:

  • 30% Protein
  • 14% Fat
  • 6% Fiber

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Summary

This formula from Blue Buffalo is a good option for smelly poops related to sensitive stomachs. If you want to learn more about this particular product, I recently put together a full review of Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet products.

Best On A Budget: Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain 

taste of the wild rocky mountain

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For the best on a budget, I’ve selected Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain formula. While we aren’t going to see the same quality of ingredients as our other dry food selections, this kibble still has an impressive 42% protein content. While it doesn’t address the smelly poop problem from multiple angles like some of the other foods on this list, in some cases increasing protein alone can help. You can check today’s price on Amazon by clicking here. 

Pros:

  • High protein content at 42%
  • Excellent value

Cons:

  • Lower overall ingredient quality

So let’s take a closer look at the ingredients for our best on a budget selection.

1. Chicken Meal

Chicken meal is the tissue of chicken treated with high heat to remove fat and water. It’s then ground into a concentrated (and high protein) form. While it’s good to see chicken includes as the first ingredient, I’d prefer to see it outside of its meal form for our first ingredient.

2. Peas

Peas are simply…peas! Again, I’d prefer to see an animal product in our number two spot but Taste of the Wild is still able to keep the protein count high by using the concentrated meal as the first ingredient.

3. Sweet Potatoes

When it comes to carbohydrates in cat food, sweet potatoes are one of the better options. Again, I’d rather see more animal sources here.

4. Chicken Fat

It’s good to see another animal-based ingredient on this list and this helps Taste of the Wild reach it’s somewhat high 18% fat content.

5. Pea Protein

Concentrated pea protein. Not bad and as we’ve previously mentioned studies suggest that plants proteins are well digested by cats.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here’s the complete list of ingredients in Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain formula:

Chicken Meal, Peas, Sweet Potatoes, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Pea Protein, Potato Protein, Roasted Venison, Smoked Salmon, Natural Flavor, Ocean Fish Meal, Dl-Methionine, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Dried Chicory Root, Tomatoes, Blueberries, Raspberries, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentaion Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Animalis Fermentation Product, Zinc Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin D Supplement, Folic Acid. Contains A Source Of Live (Viable), Naturally Occurring Microorganisms.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis:

  • 42% Protein
  • 18% Fat
  • 3% Fiber

Taste of the Wild Summary

This high protein diet doesn’t feature the same quality ingredient as some of our top selections but it can still be a great choice if you’re looking for a dry kibble to manage stinky cat poops while staying on a budget.

Best Wet Cat Food For Smelly Poops

If your cat prefers wet food or you just want to be able to use it as a nice treat (without punishing yourself with a deadly litter box stink) we’ve got 5 wet food options for you to choose from.

Understanding Dry Matter

Up to this point, we’ve been using the crude analysis percentages to get a snapshot of the protein content. But things get a little more complicated when you apply to this wet food.

That’s because the high moisture content makes it appear as though wet food has lower protein even though it often has more. So in order to accurately compare wet food to dry food, we’d need to look at the dry matter and crunch some numbers.

In the spirit of keeping things simple, I’ll just point out that if a wet food has 9% protein but 80% moisture it’s dry matter protein percentage is 45% even though the label will read only 9%. So keep this in mind as we review the crude analysis and remember that if you want to compare wet to dry you’ll need to do some quick math. You can learn more about how to do this in this article.

With that out of the way, let’s get started with our first selection!

Best Overall: Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Morsels

Merrick backcountry real turkey wet food

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It shouldn’t be a surprise that my number one wet food is matching for smelly cat poops is matching up with my best overall dry food pick. Merrick applies the same high-quality ingredients to its line of wet food with the first SIX ingredients all coming from animal sources. In most cases, that means better digestibility for your cat and less stink in the box.

There are also several flavors to choose from including duck, rabbit, turkey, chicken, trout, and whitefish. Overall, I really like this product from Merrick for dealing with smelly poops and believe it’s a great balance between quality and cost. You can check the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.

Pros:

  • All 6 of the first ingredients are animal-based
  • Several flavors to choose from
  • Great balance of cost and quality

Cons:

  • Opened pouches can be harder to keep fresh if your cat doesn’t eat it all in one serving

Let’s take a closer look at the first five ingredients of the turkey formula to get a better idea of what’s inside.

1. Deboned Turkey

As always, it’s good to see a named poultry product as the number one ingredient.

2. Turkey Broth

Broth is a common ingredient in wet cat food and I like that it matches our first ingredient.

3. Chicken Broth

More broth but at least it’s from an animal source.

4. Turkey Liver

Our third turkey ingredient is liver. While technically considered a poultry by-product by the AAFCO I wouldn’t consider liver a true by-product. Remember, by-product also means things like feet and heads. I’d say there’s a very clear distinction between feet, heads and liver!

5. Deboned Chicken

It’s rare to see a second quality ingredient in the number 5 spot which is just another reason why I really like this wet food!

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here’s the complete list of ingredients in the turkey recipe:

Turkey: Deboned Turkey, Turkey Broth, Chicken Broth, Turkey Liver, Deboned Chicken, Dried Egg Whites, Potato Starch, Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Salmon Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Choline Chloride, Minerals (Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide), Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Carbonate, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Inulin, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Rosemary Extract.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis:

  • 9% Protein
  • 2.5% Fat
  • 1.2% Fiber
  • 80% Moisture

Merrick Backcountry Summary

This is the clear winner between cost and quality. Featuring a long list of animal-based ingredients there’s a good chance your carnivorous cats will find this wet food easier to digest. That means less waste, filler, and stink in the litter box.

Runner Up: Instinct Original

instinct original cat food

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My runner up is a formula from Nature’s Variety called Instinct Original. This wet food also comes in a wide range of flavors including chicken, lamb, rabbit, duck, beef, salmon, and venison. With that kind of variety, just because your cat has smelly poop doesn’t mean he can’t try some interesting recipes!

But what makes this wet food more unique is the inclusion of montmorillonite clay as ingredient six. Montmorillonite clay, more often known as bentonite clay, may help manage diarrhea in humans and while this shouldn’t be confused as veterinary advice it is an interesting ingredient. Especially when we’re looking for foods that can help with smelly cat poops. This clay is primarily used as an anti-caking agent which means that Instinct doesn’t have to use traditional ingredients like guar gum or xantham gum.

All that being said, there are many reviewers who believe that the addition of montmorillonite clay is a bad thing citing that. But for every positive review you have reviews like this one (link to Amazon):

The best part is that this is one of the very few canned cat foods that are not designed to make diarrhea and stinky poop. That’s because it is free of gums: xantham gum, guar gum, carrageenan, agar agar, etc. Nature Variety uses montmorillonite clay as a binder instead. As a result, my cats’ poop is small, dry and odorless on this food, and nearly the same as it is with their raw diet.

At the end of the day, you’ll have the make the decision that makes the most sense to you. Because of the controversy around this ingredient, I’ve decided to put Instinct Orignial in the runner up position.

Pros:

  • Wide range of flavors so every cat can find something they like
  • Includes montmorillonite clay which reduces the need for other preservatives
  • Uses cage free chickens

Cons:

  • Some believe that montmorillonite clay is a bad addition to this food

While we’ve already focused pretty heavily on ingredient number 6, let’s take a closer look at the first five to get a better idea of what’s inside Instinct’s Original chicken variety.

1. Chicken

Instinct Original specifically advertises that they use cage free chicken, which is great! As always, we want to see a solid animal sourced protein as the first ingredient.

2. Turkey

It’s excellent to see another animal-based protein in ingredient two. Often food features broth instead as the second ingredient.

3. Chicken Liver

More animal protein is always good and even though this gets the poultry by-product label from the AAFCO it’s still an excellent option.

4. Chicken Broth

Standard ingredient for any kind of wet food.

5. Ground Flaxseed

We don’t often see flaxseed this far up the ingredient list but it’s a great addition, especially if we’re trying to manage smelly cat poops. Flaxseed is rich in natural fiber and may have some digestive benefit.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here’s the complete list of ingredients in the chicken recipe:

Chicken, Turkey, Chicken Liver, Chicken Broth, Ground Flaxseed, Montmorillonite Clay, Egg Product, Peas, Carrots, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Minerals (Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide), Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Taurine, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Menhaden Fish Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Artichokes, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Tomato, Blueberries, Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Parsley.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis:

  • 10% Protein
  • 7.5% Fat
  • 3% Fiber
  • 78% Moisture

Instinct Original Summary

While this cat food has a lot of benefits when it comes to digestive health, the inclusion of montmorillonite clay as ingredient six may discourage some cat owners from giving this a try. While it still features a solid list of ingredients, it has take the runner up spot as it’s not for everyone.

Premium Pick: NomNomNow Cat Food Delivery

For the premium choice I’ve selected NomNomNow cat food delivery. This really is the best money can buy. NomNomNow provides regularly deliverly delivered meals that are “likely cooked” so it’s closer to raw food. The food is also made in small batches and my favorite part is that you can actually see what your cat is eating!

Instead of opening a cat of brown bits the chicken recipe actually looks like chicken!

This kind of simple and closer to raw diet can really help some cats with smelly poop problems as they simply produce less waste. Another nice benefit is that the meals are specially portioned for you cat’s weight to promote a healthy weight. You can learn more about NomNomNow by clicking here.

Pros:

  • Small batch with high quality ingredients
  • Ingredients you can actually see!
  • Specifically portioned to your cat’s weight
  • Single protein

Cons:

  • May be too expensive for some

Let’s see how the top five ingredients stack up compared to the rest of the foods on our list.

1. Chicken Thigh

We can already see the quality as it’s unusual to see this specific cut of chicken mentioned.

2. Chicken Breast

Once again, we’d normally expect to see just chicken but we can actually see the specific cut used.

3. Chicken Liver

We’re getting all protein from one animal which can be great for cats with sensitive stomachs.

4. Carrots

As I said, the ingredients are simple. Nothing ground up for concentrated just plain ol’ carrots!

5. Asparagus

Asparagus is a good source of micronutrients.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here’s the complete list of ingredients in the chicken recipe:

Ingredients: Chicken thigh, chicken breast, chicken liver, carrots, asparagus, cantaloupe, spinach, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, salt, taurine, choline bitartrate, zinc gluconate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, copper gluconate, manganese gluconate, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), selenium yeast, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B12 supplement, cholecalciferol (source of vitamin D3), potassium iodide.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis:

  • 18% Protein
  • 4% Fat
  • 0.8% Fiber
  • 73% Moisture

NomNomNow Summary

If you’re looking for the best money can buy…this is it. This high quality cat food from NomNomNow is perfectly portioned and designed to give the benefits of a raw diet without the hassle.

Best For Sensitive Stomachs: Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Salmon & Green Pea Formula

natural balance limited ingredient diet

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Multiple protein sources can be upsetting sensitive stomachs and often we find that high-protein diets pull from multiple animal sources. That’s resolved with limited ingredient diets which feature just one type of animal protein source and I’ve selected this salmon formula from Natural Balance as the best option for sensitive stomachs.

Other wet food formulas (even those that are advertised as limited ingredient diets) often feature broth or oil from another species. I’m specifically recommending the salmon flavor because it doesn’t have this problem.  Overall, this could be a great option for managing smelly poops especially if you have a cat with possible protein sensitivities. You can get today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.

Pros:

  • True limited ingredient wet food with one protein source
  • No Artificial Flavors, Colors Or Preservatives

Cons:

  • Broth is the first ingredient

Let’s take a closer look at the first five ingredients of the salmon and green pea formula.

1. Salmon Broth

As mentioned, I’d really rather see an animal protein here and not a broth. It’s my only real issue with this formula.

2. Salmon

A great source of protein and fatty acids.

3. Ground Peas

Peas do have a decent amount of fiber and are an acceptable ingredient here.

4. Pea Protein

Pea protein is an acceptable source of protein for cats.

5. Salmon Meal

Ground salmon with the fat and water removed. A good source of protein for your cat.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here’s the complete list of ingredients in the chicken recipe:

Salmon Broth, Salmon, Ground Peas, Pea Protein, Salmon Meal, Salmon Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin, Vitamin A Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin), Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Potassium Chloride, Salt, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Cranberries, Carrageenan, Flaxseed Meal, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Magnesium Sulfate, Rosemary Extract.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis:

  • 9% Protein
  • 4% Fat
  • 1% Fiber
  • 78% Moisture

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Summary

This limited ingredient wet food features salmon as the only protein source which may help some cats with digestion and decrease smelly poops. While I’d like to see salmon as the first ingredient (instead of salmon broth) it’s a great overall choice for cats with sensitive stomachs.

Best On A Budget: Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet

blue buffalo basics limited ingredient duck and potato

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It may be unusual to see Blue Buffalo listed as a budget option but at the time of writing this limited ingredient, wet food was the best option if you’re watching your bank account. As with all limited ingredient diets, this food focuses on one animal for the protein source. Limited ingredient diets can help with digestion and as a result, possibly help with smelly poops.

This wet food from Blue Buffalo doesn’t quite the same ingredient quality as our wet foods but when you’re looking to balance budget and quality it can be a good option. You can check the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.

Pros:

  • A great option for budget-conscious cat owners
  • Focuses on one protein source

Cons:

  • Slightly lower ingredient quality with pea flour as the fourth ingredient

Let’s dive into the duck recipe and review the first five ingredients:

1. Duck

As expected, duck is the first ingredient and as always it’s good to see an animal protein as the first ingredient.

2. Duck Broth

Broth is a common ingredient for moisture and because it’s a limited ingredient diet we expect the broth to match the main protein source.

3. Potatoes

Potatoes aren’t great and less expected in wet food. Still, it’s much better than a typical grain.

4. Pea Flour

Pea flour isn’t preferred and while it’s better than something like corn it’s a step down from many other ingredients.

5. Carrots

Carrots are an acceptable addition.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here’s the complete list of ingredients in the duck recipe:

Duck, Duck Broth, Potatoes, Pea Flour, Carrots, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed (source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Fish Oil, Pumpkin, Cranberries, Blueberries, Powdered Cellulose, Guar Gum, Taurine, Cassia Gum, Carrageenan, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Choline Chloride, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin Supplement (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), preserved with Mixed Tocopherols.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis:

  • 7.5% Protein
  • 6% Fat
  • 1.5% Fiber
  • 78% Moisture

Blue Buffalo Basic Limited Ingredient Diet Summary

As a premium cat food brand, it’s not typical to see Blue Buffalo as the budget option but this duck flavored limited ingredient diet may help decrease smelly cat poops without breaking the bank.

Probiotics May Help

Keeping your cat’s healthy bacteria happy can be a great way to manage smelly poops and probiotics can easily be added to your cat’s daily meals. Most probiotics come in a powdered form and if you’re already feeding wet food they can easily be mix in. Usually without any fuss from your cat.

But probiotics can do more than just help with digestive issues, they can also support your cat’s overall health. I recommend these powdered cat-specific probiotics that you can get on Amazon but you should consult your veterinarian before jumping into any kind of supplement.

Still, probiotics could be a simple solution to smelly stools that doesn’t require you to change your cat’s current food.

Is The Box To Blame?

While decreasing the smelliness of your cat’s poop with a good diet is always going to be a good starting point, it’s worth looking at your litter box too.

Set A Scoop and Scrub Schedule

First, you’ll want to stick with a litter box schedule. That means regular scooping and regularly replacing all the litter in the box. While scooping can help keep things fresher on a daily basis you’ll still need to regularly replace all the litter to completely get rid of the stink.

While the frequency of changing the box will depend on the number of cats in your household, if you’re sticking with the Humane Society’s recommendation of one box per cat plus one weekly replacement of the litter should be effective.

Additionally, you’ll want to consider a deep cleaning with soap and water. With a tidy cat, you can get by with doing this once a month.

Litter Box Location

While you wouldn’t want the litter box in the middle of the living room, placing it in an area with decent ventilation will most certainly help.

Because of the nature of litter boxes, we often place them in the darkest, smallest corner of the house. While this keeps them out the way, it can greatly intensify the smell of the litter box.

What Kind Of Litter? 

You’ll also want to consider the kind of litter you’re using. Clumping litter can trap the odor in and make it easier to scoop. But some cats just don’t like and some cat owners don’t like the extra mess.

Litter Box Types

Finally, there’s the type of litter box. There’s a lot of debate between covered and open litter boxes but it’s best to find the type that works for you and your cat.

With a covered litter box, you’re going to be able to control the smelly poop situation better but your cat has to pay the price as their litter box holds in the odor.

With an open box, you’ll quickly get ventilation but you also end up with quite the eye sore.

Stay tuned for our latest article covering the best litter box options.

Careful With Rapid Diet Changes

Sudden changes in diet can also cause GI upset, diarrhea, and of course smelly poops so it’s important to not switch diets too suddenly. Instead, gradually introduce the new food over time by mixing the two foods together while slowly increasing the ratio of new food to old.

Final Thoughts

Cat poop stinks.

But it doesn’t have to be torture! You can find the best cat food for managing smelly poops but it may require some trial and error. We’ve laid our top picks for both wet and dry food and equipped you with the knowledge to know what you’re looking for.

Now it’s your turn and we’d love to hear from you!

Comment below if one of our picks helped your cat have a happier stomach and a happier home!

Logan M.

Logan has always loved everything about cats! Growing up with a family full of pets and a lifelong passion for animals he pursued work in the veterinary industry. After 10 years, he started BetterWithCats.net to help cat owners learn more about their feline friends.

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